Macho, macho men

A satirical feature
by Chris Hibbard

Macho, Macho Men

In the world of sports, there are few events less violent and blood-soaked than Mixed Martial Arts / Ultimate Fighting. Because of this, the fans of (and athletes in) Ultimate Fighting have, in the past, been primarily middle-income white males between the ages of 18-35. So it comes as something of a surprise to learn that the newest major demographic to watch the sport are young homosexual men – not the expected target audience.

“The big sweaty men who roll around in UFC matches just make me hot, to put it simply,” said Sascha Michaelson, a proud gay man who tunes in nightly. “These are testosterone-fuelled matches between gorgeous hunks of beef who are tough as nails, yet frequently have their genitals in each other’s faces.” Homophobic staunch defenders of the sport are less than pleased with this latest turn of events – the sharing of their domain with those they deem unworthy.

“Man, anything can happen in the ring. These guys fight in a cage, surrounded by crazed fans screaming for blood. It’s primitive, it’s brutal and it’s a death match. You can’t tell me that it’s homoerotic – there are hot women who parade around in skimpy clothing just like in boxing. So what if all the men are half-naked and rolling around together?”

The techniques utilized in mixed martial arts competition generally fall into two categories: striking with kicks, knees and punches; and grappling: submission holds, takedowns, and body throws. While biting, eye-gouging and small-bone breaking are technically illegal manoeuvres, little else is.

This is why many matches are ended, if not by knockout or submissions, by the referee or the fight doctor.

The Ultimate Fighters themselves are quick to proclaim their own sexual orientation, as well as that of all the other fighters. “In the world of mixed martial arts fighting, you need to get close to other men – real close. It takes a little time, but we get pretty used to the sights and smells of other men’s physiques,” said Russ “Hardface” MacGregor, champion of the 2004-2005 season. “When I’m on all fours, straddling some dude who’s trying to pound me, I just let my mind drift somewhere safe and warm, somewhere far away with gentle music playing.”

No matter what your preference in gender is, the ratings don’t lie. Ultimate Fighting, and ‘reality’ shows like Spike TV’s Ultimate Fighter, cater to audiences which crave the homoerotic depravity. But now included in this category of viewers are young gay men who watch them for an entirely different purpose.

“Every week it’s like a fantastic soap opera, but instead of the typical love triangles and such, there are grown men fawning over each other, stripping down their underwear for weigh-in inspections, and just being plain catty with each other. If that’s not a turn-on, I don’t know what is!” exclaimed Daniel Witherbee, head of the Lethbridge chapter of UFGPFC, or Ultimate Fighting Gay Pride Fan Club.

It makes no difference how you slice it. To some, Ultimate Fighting is exactly what it seems: bronzed and tattooed men, part-Adonis and part animal, their bodies sculpted and tuned to perfection, pumped full of hormones and poised to strike. To the new fans however, it’s much, much more: the most sensual, sexual, utterly erotic sport since Greek Wrestling, full of grunts and groans, cries and moans – the soundtrack accompanying the thud of greasy bodies slapping together and rolling around in a deadly embrace.

Sure, the fight announcers proclaim weekly the finesse behind giving another man “the Anaconda from behind,” but it can’t be gay if there are punches being thrown, can it?

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~ by Chris Hibbard on October 31, 2008.

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